As seen on:

SMH Logo News Logo

Call 1300 303 181

AWD

Nissan X-Trail Updates For 2021.

Nissan has provided the X-Trail SUV with a solid list of updates for 2021, bring the mid-sized and popular machine into line with its competition.Across all trim levels, Nissan adds in Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. For the ST-L and above, Intelligent Driver Alert (IDA) is added, whilst for the ST and TS models, DAB audio, finally, has been added. One hopes the screen interface has been updated too and it seems so as they say the next-gen infotainment system for 7.0 inch touchscreens will be standard. The ST-L trim level also has new 18 inch wheels. The ST and TS level also will have voice recognition added in.The X-Trail also sees an increased safety presence and it’s extensive. Model dependent, buyers will see items such as the aforementioned IDA, plus Forward Collision Warning, Intelligent Cruise Control, Intelligent Emergency Braking and Intelligent Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection. The front (model dependent) will have an Adaptive Front Lighting System, Blind Spot Warning, and Moving Object Detection. Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Intervention, and Around View Monitor, will also be seen.

ST and TS will share 17 inch alloys, idle stop/start for the diesel engines, rear view camera, and Intelligent Emergency Braking with Forward Collision Warning plus Vehicle Dynamic Control. The diesel will be a five seater only, a curious choice given the better, low revving, torque characteristics of diesels which make them far better for carrying passengers.

ST-L has a leather accented tiller and seats, with the front seats having eight and four way power adjustment for the driver and passenger. Ti takes the luxury touches even further with heated door mirrors, LED headlights with self-leveling and swiveling, rain sensing wipers, plus a motion sensing tailgate. Rear seats have heating elements as does the steering wheel, whilst a glass roof can open to share the sounds from an eight speaker Bose audio system. 19 inch alloys underpin the Ti.

Motorvation comes courtesy of a 2.0L petrol engine with 106kW and 200Nm, and 2.5L with 126kW and 226Nm. A 2.0L diesel offers 130kW and 380Nm and that’s available from 2,000rpm. Economy for that is quoted as 6.0L/100km (combined). The smaller petrol engine is quoted as 8.2L/100km (ST manual) with the 2.5L at 7.9L/100km and available in the ST, ST-L, and Ti. Tanks are 60.0L for all models.

The 2WD-only 2.0-litre powered X-TRAIL ST uses a smooth-shifting six- speed manual transmission, whereas all 2.5-litre variants (available in both 2WD and 4WD) are mated to Nissan’s Xtronic CVT with manual mode (MCVT). This transmission’s broad gear ratio coverage and low-friction design help deliver strong acceleration and fuel economy. The AWD systems have a console centre dial with 2WD, Auto (torque split on demand) and Lock.

Pricing starts from $30,665 (plus ORC) for the ST manual, $32,665 (plus ORC) for the CVT five seater and $34,265 (plus ORC) for the seven seater. These are two wheel drive only. The ST CVT AWD is an extra $400. TS AWD diesel auto starts from $37,465 plus ORC.

ST-L is two wheel drive five and seven seater, and AWD, with $38,525, $40,125, and $40,525 plus ORC. Ti is AWD only and starts from $45,965 plus ORC and includes tan leather and no extra cost.

Isn’t It IONIQ…BEV And E-GMP Hyundai IONIQ5 On The Way

Hyundai have given to the world two more new automotive acronyms. BEV (battery electric vehicles) and E-GMP (Electric-Global Modular Platform) are attached to the new IONIQ5. Classed as a mid-sized SUV, it’s due in Australia sometime in Q3 (July to September) 2021.

The IONIQ 5 will have two battery pack options, either 58 kWh or 72.6 kWh, and two electric motor layouts, either with a rear motor only or with both front and rear motors. All PE variations provide outstanding range and deliver a top speed of 185 km/h.

The E-GMP platform sees Hyundai exploring design and engineering boundaries, with the base platform here providing a wheelbase of 3,000mm (100mm more than Palisade) inside an overall length of 4,635mm. The battery pack is expected to provide a driving range of up to 470km. A pair of motors will propel the IONIQ5 to 100kph in just over five seconds thanks to 225kW and 605Nm in all wheel drive mode when using the Long Range Battery. Go to the standard battery and there’s an expected 0-100 time of 6.1 seconds.

A key feature of the BEV is the ultra-fast charging, with 10% to 80% in 18 minutes of charge, and the platform will support 400V and 800V infrastructure. This also enables a range of 100km in five minutes worth of charging. A feature growing in stature, the ability to output charge, is also aboard. IONIQ 5 also provides an innovative V2L function, which allows customers to freely use or charge any electric devices, such as electric bicycles, scooters or camping equipment, serving as a charger on wheels with up to 3.6kW of power using what Hyundai called the V2L (Vehicle To Load) function. The port to connect and output will be placed under the second row seats. An external port is also fitted and can charge other devices whilst the IONIQ5 is powered down.

Thomas Schemera, Executive Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer, said: “IONIQ 5 will accommodate lifestyles without limits, proactively caring for customers’ needs throughout their journey. It is truly the first electric vehicle to provide a new experience with its innovative use of interior space and advanced technologies.”

Hyundai says the IONIQ5’s exterior heralds a new chapter in their design, with the vehicle equipped with Hyundai’s first clamshell hood which minimises panel gaps for optimal aerodynamics. The front bumper is defined by an eye-catching V-shape incorporating distinctive DRLs that provide an unmistakable light signature which is a bespoke IONIQ5 look. These small pixel-like clusters also appear at the rear of the vehicle. Colour choices will have nine for the exterior, three inside. Obsidian Black and Dark Pebble Gray/Dove Gray, while the optional colour pack offers Dark Teal/Dove Gray.

There are auto-retracting door handles that will provide a styling for a clean surface look, which also will increase aerodynamic efficiency. A distinctive C-pillar, derived and inspired from a previous EV concept, identifies the IONIQ5 from a distance.

Hyundai has a design brief they’ve termed Parametric Pixel and this is seen in the 20 inch diameter aero wheels. SangYup Lee, Senior Vice President and Head of Hyundai Global Design Centre, says: “A new mobility experience for the next generation – this was the mission from the first day we began this project, to look ahead towards the horizon, but stay fundamentally Hyundai,” said . “IONIQ 5 is the new definition of timeless, providing a common thread linking our past to the present and future.”

The interior has a “Living Space” theme which shows a movable centre console, the Universal island, with a travel of 140mm. Batteries are located in the floor, making for a flat surface and aiding interior space. The powered front seats have been reduced in thickness for better rear seat space. It’s a “green”car, with eco-friendly, sustainably sourced materials, such as recycled PET bottles, plant-based (bio PET) yarns and natural wool yarns, eco-processed leather with plant-based extracts, and bio paint with plant extracts used in areas such as the seats, door trim, headlining, and floor.

Interior design sees 531L of cargo space at the rear, with nearly 1,600L on offer with the second row seats folded. A front cargo area, or as it’s known, a “frunk” (front trunk).

With Remote Charging, IONIQ 5 drivers can start and stop charging with the push of a button on their smartphone app. During colder months, Remote Climate Control allows users to schedule pre-heating of IONIQ 5 while it is connected to an external power source. Not only does this ensure comfort for occupants during the drive, but it also saves battery power that would otherwise be needed to heat the vehicle on the road.

IONIQ 5’s Dynamic Voice Recognition system accepts simple voice commands to conveniently control cabin A/C, radio, hatch opening/closing, heated steering wheel, heated/cooled seats and other functions. The system can also assist with various points of interest (POI), weather status and stock market data updates.

IONIQ 5 also features a premium Bose sound system. Its eight speakers, including a subwoofer, are strategically placed throughout the vehicle for a high-quality listening experience.

IONIQ 5 will be available in selected regions starting in the first half of 2021, with Australia set to launch in Q3 2021.

Mazda Adds GT SP To CX-5 And Updates Range

Japanese car maker Mazda has released details of an update to the CX-5. This includes the GT SP model being added in. Vinesh Bhindi, the Managing Director for Mazda Australia, says: “Mazda CX-5 has been our most popular model since 2019, and we are excited to expand the brand’s new SP model line into the CX-5 range with the first-ever GT SP.”

SP is a bespoke add-in for Mazda CX-9 plus can be found in the Mazda6 sedan and wagons. For the CX-5 GT SP, there is piano black side mirror covers and black metallic 19-inch alloy wheels, black interior trim highlights and seats finished in a bespoke black Maztex and Grand Luxe Synthetic Suede upholstery. The seats and trim also feature contrasting red stitching.

Power comes from normally or turboed petrol engines that sip 91RON fuel. Other versions of the CX-5 have diesels, front wheel drive or all wheel drive, plus six speed manuals.

In the CX-5 Maxx, and Maxx Sport front-wheel drive, is a direct-injected 2.0-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine. This features a high 13.0:1 compression ratio to maximise internal efficiency and generates 115kW at 6,000rpm. Peak torque is 200Nm at 4,000rpm. Combined-cycle fuel economy sits at 6.9L/100km for the six-speed manual Maxx as well as the six-speed automatic Maxx and Maxx Sport. Combined CO2 is 160g/km for the manual and 161g/km for the automatic.

Step up a level to the i-Activ AWD Maxx and Maxx Sport and there is the bigger 2.5-litre Skyactiv-G petrol engine. This is also the standard engine for the Touring, GT, GT SP and Akera model grades. Standard transmission is a six speed auto, with power and torque rated as 140kW at 6,000rpm and 252Nm at 4,000rpm.

The Skyactiv-D is a 2.2L unit and has a pair of turbos. This endows the engine with massive flexibility, with 450Nm of torque on tap at 2,000rpm, and peak power of 140kW. It’s available in Maxx Sport, Touring, GT and Akera models with automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. Economy is rated at 5.7L/100km. Go to the Skyactiv-G 2.5T, which is available on GT and above levels, and it produces 170kW at 5,000rpm and 420Nm available from 2,000rpm. Economy is rated at 8.2L/100km on the combined cycle.

Trim and equipment levels include the brand’s latest 10.25 inch Mazda Connect touchscreen for the Mazda CX-5 GT, GT SP and Akera models. Maxx, Maxx Sport and Touring variants will be fitted with an 8.0 inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard across the range. The Maxx now has 17 inch alloys, replacing the steel wheels previously fitted.

Safety packages are high with the CX-5’s five star safety rating backed up by Blind Spot Monitoring, Smart City Brake Support [Forward/Reverse] with night time pedestrian detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Land Departure Warning and Lane Keep Assist. Additional safety equipment includes Front LED fog lamps for Maxx Sport and above levels, front parking sensors for Touring and above, an Active Driving Display for Touring and above, plus a 360 degree monitor and adaptive LED headlights for the Akera.

Specifications start with the Maxx with 17-inch alloy wheels and 225/65 tyres, rain sensing wipers, DAB audio and Bluetooth hands-free phone/audio connection. Maxx Sport adds dual-zone climate control, paddle shift gear selection on the auto, satnav, and an auto-dimming rear vision mirror. Touring models offer heated exterior mirrors, front parking sensors, Traffic Sign Recognition, and Active Driving Display. Seating has Black Maztex and Black Grand Luxe Synthetic Suede upholstery.

GT models offer 19-inch alloy wheels with 225/55 tyres, a sunroof, powered tailgate, front seat heating with 2 position memory for the driver and 10 and 6 way power adjustment (driver and passenger), a Bose sound system, and the aforementioned 10.25 inch touchscreen. Bose provides a 10 speaker sound system.

The new GT SP adds in black metallic 19-inch alloy wheels and black exterior mirror caps, with the interior gaining black Maztex and Black Grand Luxe Synthetic Suede seat upholstery with red contrast stitching in the black leather trim. Akera spices up with a 360 degree View Monitor, Brilliant Dark 19 inch alloys, vented front pews, a heated tiller, heating on the rear seats’ outers ection and dark russet Nappa leather. The driver has a 7.0 inch TFT screen, and genuine wood trim adorns the door and dash. Paint colours include Snowflake White Pearl White Mica, Titanium Flash Mica, Eternal Blue Mica, Deep Crystal Blue Mica and Jet Black Mica plus Sonic Silver Metallic at no extra cost.

Premium metallic paints are available at $495 (MRLP) and include Machine Grey Metallic, Polymetal Grey Metallic and Soul Red Metallic. Pricing starts at $31,190 plus ORC for the Maxx Petrol Manual FWD, $33,190 plus ORC for the auto FWD whilst the AWD sees $36,190 plus ORC. Maxx Sport FWD with auto and petrol is $36,490 plus ORC and the AWD is $39,490. Diesel AWD Maxx Sport starts from $42,490 plus ORC.

Touring Petrol Auto AWD is $41,280 plus ORC, Touring Diesel Auto AWD is $44,280 plus ORC. GT Petrol Auto AWD starts from $46,990 plus ORC, petrol turbo from $46,490 plus ORC, with the diesel from $49,990 plus ORC. GT SP Petrol auto AWD from $47,490 plus OC, with the turbo version from $49,990 plus ORC. The Akera Petrol Auto AWD starts from $49,380 plus ORC, Akera Petrol Turbo Auto AWD from
$51,880 plus ORC, and Akera Diesel Auto AWD from $52,380 plus ORC.

Jeep Gladiator Update: New Model And New Pricing.

Jeep Australia has added to the Jeep Gladiator range, with the Sport S variant being brought into the line-up as an entry level machine. It’ll lob at $65,450, with the options packs priced at $2,450 (Comfort and Technology), and $2,950 (Lifestyle Adventure group) with Premium paint at $795.

Straight out of the box, the Jeep Gladiator Sport S is ready for adventure with heavy-duty Dana front and rear axles, underbody skid plates, selectable tyre fill alert and a wash-out interior. Drive is via the Selec-Trac® Active On-Demand 4×4 system, with power coming from the familiar Pentastar 3.6L V6, offering 209kW and getting grunt to each corner via an eight speed auto.

The Jeep Gladiator Sport S includes of an array of standard active safety equipment, including Forward Collision Warning Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Path Detection. Comfort and convenience features include LED exterior lighting, remote proximity keyless entry, a fourth-generation UConnect 7.0” Touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, automatic headlamps, push-button start, 7.0” Driver Information Display Cluster and dual-zone climate control.

Standard interior trim is Premium Black Cloth, the UConnect system via a 7.0 inch touchscreen and smartapp compatibility, and a 7.0 inch driver’s display, whilst Alpine provides the interior sounds through nine speakers.

Outside, the alloys are 17 inch Tech Silver under black fender flares. Lighting front and rear is LED and the ubiquitous three piece Freedom hardtop is here. Safety features include Forward Collision Warning Plus, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Cross Path Detection, plus Parkview Rear Backup Camera and ParkSense Front/Rear Park Assist System. There is convenience via a Remote Proximity Keyless Entry and Push Button Start plus Selectable Tyre Fill Alert.Guillaume Drelon, Jeep Australia Director, Brand & Product Strategy, says: “The Jeep Gladiator Sport S creates a new entry-level price point into the Jeep Gladiator range, without compromising on safety, technology and Jeep’s renowned off-road prowess. Since its arrival in Australia, the Gladiator has been turning heads on our roads and by expanding the range to include the Sport S specification, even more Australians will be able to own the only open-air truck.” he continued.

The optional Lifestyle and Adventure package adds a Roll-up Tonneau Cover, Cargo Management Group with Trail Rail System, Lockable Rear Underseat Storage Bin, Spray-In Bedliner, Wireless Bluetooth Speaker, Auxiliary Switch Bank (4 Programmable Switches), 240-Amp Alternator and a 700-Amp Maintenance-Free Battery. The Comfort and Technology Group package can also be added to the Gladiator Sport S specification, delivering premium convenience appointments including a fourth-generation Uconnect 8.4” Touchscreen, Deep Tint Sunscreen Windows, Hard Top Headliner, Security Alarm and Remote Start System.

The 2021 Jeep Gladiator Sport S is available to order now, arriving in Dealerships from February 2021.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander Diesel: Private Fleet Car Review

Hyundai have finally, for the Australian market, released their Palisade. U.S. based and sourcing the name from the States, the Palisade is the step up from the Santa Fe. There’s a choice of seven or eight seats with no price difference between the two, a petrol at 3.8L or diesel at 2.2L, and the same driveline being petrol/front wheel drive or diesel/all wheel drive with torque split on demand.Pricing starts at $65K for the petrol FWD Palisade, $69,200 for the diesel version, $77,150 for the Highlander seven/eight seater with petrol and $81,350 for the diesel. Transmission is a standard eight speed auto for both engines.

It’s the diesel that should be the preferred choice if using the Palisade for its intended purpose. 147kW and 440Nm are the numbers from the 2.2L unit, and the torque is between 1,750 rpm to 2,750 rpm. Opt for the petrol and there’s 217kW and 355Nm. That, though, is at 5,200 rpm. Kerb weights nudge two tonnes, and makes economy an equation. We finished on 9.0L/100km on a 70/30 urban/highway mix, with Hyundai’s official combined figure saying 7.3L/100km for the diesel. For the petrol, it’s 10.7L, but use it on the school runs, 14.9L/100km is what should be expected. Towing? 2,200kg, says Hyundai, for both.To fit in seven or eight people and not have knees around ears, the Palisade rolls on a wheelbase of 2,900mm. Length is 4,980mm, and for shoulder room, it’s 1,975mm wide. headroom? Even with two sunroofs, it’s 1,750mm tall overall, and has 203mm ground clearance. This is for when the off-road dial in the centre console is used to switch between tarmac and off-road when Snow, Mud, and Sand get into the 245/50/20 rubber from Bridgestone’s Dueler range.Legroom in row three is 798mm, with 959mm of headroom. Shoulder room is 1,402mm. Centre row measurements are 1,077mm/1,019mm/1545mm. Up front and leg room is 1,120mm, with head and shoulder space at 1,060mm and 1,555mm. The driver’s space sees a floating centre console, with a small amount of storage space and a couple of charge points, with a storage bin on top also housing a charge point or two. On the inner section of the front seats are a USB point each. There’s a sliding cover ahead of the console storage and a wireless charge pad, complete with an outline for any handset that’s placed there. For the centre row there’s an extra 12V socket and for the third row a pair of USB ports and four cupholders.Palisade offers a kind of crossover between Santa Fe and the Genesis with a feature in the driver’s display. Although the main dials are analogue, there is a centrally located screen of 7.0 inches in size. This takes a camera feed from either left or right when indicating. There’s a hint of Kona EV as well, with the actual drive engagement via four press buttons at the upper end of the console, rather than a dial or a lever.Both middle and third row seats are manual in movement, and in the Palisade we were supplied by Hyundai Au, the third row was folded flat and there is a separate cover to protect the rear of the seats, and simultaneously provide a large cargo bay. 704L is the measurement with the third row folded and a still goodish 311L with the third row up. The exterior is noticeably yet not overtly American. There’s the Hyundai signature grille with a solid surround and a split level look for the very distinctive driving lights. They’re a pair of C shaped units that run from the bonnet to the bottom of the headlights that are situated in their own housing. It’s an impressive look and one that went from “hmmmm” to “that’s all right” very quickly. It’s also a look that caught the attention of many, with more than a few people sidling up to either eyeball the body or ask questions.There is a C motif at the rear but not quite as visible as the front end. Roofline-wise there’s a straight line from the A-pillar to the rear ‘gate, with a thick C-pillar not unlike that of the Carnival from Kia. There is chromework that provides a visual delineation too, with the rearmost window almost a separate insert and hints at the mooted ute from Hyundai. The overall proportions are pleasing and nicely balanced visually.

Get it on road and here the big Palisade impresses. It’s been said that Hyundai haven’t put the Palisade through an Aussie tuning process. It turns out that the setup is just fine as it is thank you very much. It’s an incredibly nimble thing, the Palisade, with more of a mid-sized car feel than it deserves. The steering, for example, is set to be just under three turns from side to side. This endows the Palisade with precision unexpected in a near five metre long SUV. Handling is superb thanks to a suspension setup that is compliant as needed, hard and sporting as needed, and comfortable across the board. It’s startling that it’s so right out of the box. It’s the same with the brakes; they’re intuitive to a T, with that instinctive knowledge of where the pedal is and the force needed for the appropriate stopping distance.If there is a “room for improvement” suggestion it would be for the engine. As good a unit the 440Nm 2.2L diesel is, the Palisade is designed to carry seven or eight people and it IS a bigger machine than the Santa Fe. We noticed that with four up and a bit of extra weight, the performance level dropped. Given the intent of the Palisade, something between the 2.2L and the larger powerplants available in the Genesis range, a unit with more torque wouldn’t be a bad idea.

One aboard and there is some good performance to be had though. The eight speed autos are as slick as they come, and the 2.2L diesel pulls well enough. It’s reasonably moveable but potentially not as quick as it could be, and brings the equation back to a bigger engine or a hybrid addition for torque.

Naturally there is no shortage of safety items on board, including the camera views when indicating. These can be set to soft-touch flash at three, five, or seven intervals. Or it can be turned off. AWT feels that in the interests of safety and to follow the legal requirements in regards to providing sufficient indication, the setting should be seven only.

Rain sensing wipers are standard, the rear wiper engages automatically on reverse, and driver aids like Trailer Sway Control and Hill Descent Assist as standard add extra peace of mind. Hyundai load up with the SafetySense suite, and it’s extensive.Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist – Rear, Blind-Spot View Monitor, Driver Attention Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with camera and radar type and including Car/Pedestrian/Cyclist detection at City/Urban/Interurban operational speeds, High Beam Assist, Lane Keeping Assist – Line/Road-Edge, Leading Vehicle Departure Alert, Lane Following Assist, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Occupant Alert – Advanced, Safe Exit Assist, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go. Phew.Warranty is five years, with unlimited kilometres, and servicing is a capped price situation that can be found via your local dealer. Hyundai also offer a pre-paid service plan.

At The End Of The Drive. The Palisade Highlander is an absolute delight to drive, and absolutely family friendly. Where it’s positioned is a strange one, in one respect. Genesis. That brand is set up as a luxury aimed market, and the diesels are bigger in size and numbers for torque. Where the Palisade wins is on price and features, and space in comparison to the slightly smaller Santa Fe. In any case, it’s an impressive vehicle and will battle only prejudice against the Korean brands in its efforts to find a place in driveways.

 

Hyundai Kona Steps Further For 2021

Hyundai’s quirky Kona has been taken extra steps to continue its appeal. There’s some exterior refreshing, and the addition of the N Line name to the range. The 2021 Kona is the third new SUV in Hyundai’s ‘18 models in 18 months’ product rollout which includes the new Palisade and updated Santa Fe. There will also be a new Kona EV and a performance oriented Kona N.

Hyundai Kona 2021

“In three short years on the market, the versatile Kona has grown to become a top-seller in the class and one of our most popular models.” Hyundai Motor Company Australia Chief Executive Officer, Jun Heo said. “New 2021 Kona builds on the qualities that have drawn small-SUV buyers to the model, with an eye-catching new look, new N Line sports variants, and additional standard comfort, convenience, technology and SmartSenseTM safety features.”

The line-up introduces Kona N Line and N Line Premium, with power coming from a new engine. It’s a 146kW SmartStream 1.6 turbo unit. It drives all four corners via a DCT transmission and rides on a sports-tuned chassis with a multi-link rear suspension.

There are four models; Kona, Kona Active, Elite, and Highlander They’ll have a new SmartStream 2.0-litre petrol engine and CVT automatic pairing which will drive the front wheels. Economy is quoted as 6.2L/100km on the official combined cycle. Base Kona has 16 inch alloys. Entry level safety starts with Forward Collision Avoidance, Lane Following Assist, Smart Cruise Control, and Rear Occupant Alert. Lane Keep Assist and a Driver Attention Warning system will also be standard from the entry level up.

Standard across the range will be smartphone compatibility and a wireless charge pad, reverse camera, Hyundai’s 4.2-inch TFT colour Supervision instrument cluster display, LED DRLs, and a touchscreen of 8.0 inches in the base Kona. Below is a tyre pressure monitoring system, above are roof rails. Active has leather appointed pews, leather wrapped steering wheel and drive selector knob, rear park assist, and exterior mirrors that are heated. There are also 17 inch alloys.

Hyundai Kona 2021

Elite’s touchscreen is 10.25 inches, with audio pumping from a Harman Kardon eight speaker system. Remote start from a smart key will be standard here along with front fog lights. Safety is enhanced with Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Rear Cross Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, and a Safe Exit Warning system. Exterior addons see a gloss black grille, tailgate and side garnishes, and cladding in a carbon grey.

Hyundai Kona 2021

Highlander gives the driver a 10.25 inch display and a HUD, vented and heated front seats plus powered driver’s seat, heating elements in the outboard sections of the rear seats and steering wheel, LED headlights and taillights, with 18 inch alloys and Continental rubber. Safety has a front park assist system and high beam assist added in. Beige leather is exclusive to Highlander and LED ambient lighting will feature as it will in N Line Premium.

Kona N Line has bespoke seating and cabin highlights such as red stitching and piping, plus alloy pedals.

Hyundai Kona 2021

The sporty Kona N Line introduces an all-new 146kW, 265Nm turbo engine along with a dual-clutch automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, a multi-link rear suspension arrangement and 18-inch sports alloy wheels wrapped in Continental tyres.

Building on the specification of Kona Elite, Kona N Line introduces N Line exterior additions and badging.

Inside, there are N Line sports front seats, and a unique cabin treatment featuring red stitching, piping and trim inserts, as well as alloy pedals. 2021 Kona N Line Premium brings, in addition, a 10.25-inch digital supervision instrument cluster, heated and air ventilated front seats, heated rear outboard seats and a heated steering wheel, and LED headlights, front indicators and taillights. Features found in the Highlander, a HUD, front park assist system, powered front seats, and a glass sunroof, will also be in the N Line Premium.

Hyundai Kona 2021

Outside will be a choice of seven colours: Atlas White, Dark Knight and Phantom Black, Surfy Blue and Dive in Jeju, and red shades called Ignite Flame and Pulse Red. A black roof option for Highlander and N Line Premium, with a sunroof deleted. The front end has been reshaped for the 2021 refresh, with a rounded upper leading edge, a new grille and bumper, and restyled lights.

Hyundai Kona 2021

Kona, Active, and Elite have projector headlights, with Highlander’s illuminators being multi-faceted reflector LED. The rear has a mild restyle. N Line has their own design features with a bespoke bumper, gloss black side mirror caps and, for N Line Premium, MFR LED headlights and rear lights.

2021 Kona N Line and N Line Premium are have exclusive black leather sports interior featuring red stitching and highlights.

Hyundai Kona 2021

Kona pricing is expected to start from $26,600 plus ORC. Active will start from $28,200, with Elite and Highlander from $31,600 and $38,000. $36,300 and $42,400 will be the starting prices for the N Line and N Line Premium plus ORC. Premium paint is $595, with the beige interior for Highlander a $295 option. Service intervals for the 2.0L will be 15,000km whilst the 1.6L is at every 10,000km.

Availability is currently from March 2021.

Hyundai Kona 2021

2021 Subaru Forester Sport: Private Fleet Car Review.

Subaru is the little car company that does. It quietly churns away in the background, almost like extras in a television show, hoping to be recognised by the wider audience for its efforts. And so it should be. Its WRX is the stuff of legends, the Outback is a more than capable bi-linguist, speaking tarmac and soft-roading equally, and then there’s Forester.The chunky, wagon-looking, mid-sized SUV, is a perennial favourite. In late 2020 a mild facelift was given, and a new trim, Sport, was added. Priced at a breath under $46,850 driveaway, the Forester Sport is aimed at those that like their weekends to be just that little bit dirtier but with comfort.

Power comes from Subaru’s legendary flat, or boxer, four. It’s at 2.5L in capacity, producing 136kW and 239Nm. To get those you have to see well over 4,000rpm. Drive to all four paws is courtesy of a Constant Variable Transmission, and it’s a bit old school in that it prefers the spin to around 3,500rpm and sits there as velocity increases to highway rates, rather than the now more familiar change change change. There are programmed steps and the steering column has paddle shifts to take advantage of those. Our drive cycle took in around 40% highway and we saw a creditable 7.1L/100km as our final overall figure.Outside and inside, Subaru have splashed some red-orange, on the lower sills, centre console, and air-vents. On our white example, complete with black painted 18 inch alloys, wrapped in 225/55 rubber from Bridgestone’s Dueler range, it makes for an eye-catching combination.Inside, Subaru’s fitted water repellent cloth, in varying and pleasing shades, to the seats and door trims. There are map pockets on the backs of the driver and front passenger seats. The seats are super-easy to clean and vacuum when required. The cargo section has a tough-wearing carpet top floor that lifts to expose some polystyrene that houses the jack equipment, a couple of small storage spots, and covers the full sized spare wheel. There are four cargo hooks, a 12V socket, and a tab either side to fold the rear seats easily. Capacity starts at 509L. It’s also inside where the age of the platform is showing. Compared to offerings from Korea, and the brand’s Japanese competition, there are far more hard edges, more right lower side buttons for various functions, an a lack of the now seemingly mandatory stand along touchscreen. Also, no wireless charge pad for smartphones.

Although DAB tuner equipped, the software still isn’t as good in one small area as the competition. The data service shows the full artist and song info in other cars, Subaru’s shows only the first ten characters or so. The layout though is clean and eyeball friendly.Underneath the screen is a CD player slot, and more hard press buttons for audio, map, and more. Climate control is a touch old school, with dials rather than buttons. However, when the aircons cooling was engaged, it cooled very quickly in comparison to some.

Subaru also has a driver attention monitor and this is cleverly hidden in the top section of the binnacle that houses the info screen. Look away from the straight-ahead for a second or two and warning tone sounds, and an icon flashes up on the screen ahead of the driver. There is Subaru’s X-Mode to enjoy, and it’s operated via a dial in the centre console. It’ll switch between Mud and Gravel at the flick of a wrist and back to Normal at a press.On its last major update, the rear lights changed to a C-design, and are LED lit. These match the same shaped Daytime Running Lights in the headlight clusters. Forester has always had a no nonsense stance, and the assertive looking grille, lower air intake, and black chin insert continue that. In size the wagon design hides the 1,730mm height, which provides plenty of head space and in the Sport, has a full length glass roof. The length of 4,625mm and a wheelbase of 2,670mm put it right in the ballpark for its competition. And when getting slightly mucky, 220mm of ground clearance is there.

On start-up the boxer has a metallic note before settling quickly into its sonorous flat four burble. the exhaust mutes the tone and no doubt after-market specialists can help that part of the equation. the CVT, as mentioned, is a bit old school in approach and delivery, yet doesn’t unduly hold back performance. It is called Sport, after all. There’s enough urge, as a result, on acceleration, and once in its stride, the 2.5L does a suitable job of moving the Forester around. It’s responsive to the throttle which gives it great suburban manners and on a country-style highway run, is quiet and relaxed.The suspension is beautifully setup, with damping well sorted for its own quick response, yet soft enough to waft the Sport across even mild gravelly roads without upsetting the fluidity of the chassis. On a gravel road, the X-Mode ensures a more sure footed approach and peace of mind. Subaru’s SI-Drive can also be engaged depending on the driver’s whim, and in the Sport, it’s a two-mode, not three, program, dropping the more incisive Sport Sharp.

Subaru’s safety record is virtually peerless, and their Eyesight system , with the stereoscopic cameras, have lead the way. Backed by a five year and unlimited kilometre warranty plus capped price servicing, Subaru’s Forester Sport has seven airbags including kneebag, torque vectoring, Blind Spot Monitor, Side View Monitor (with a camera fitted to the left hand side exterior mirror), Adaptive Cruise Control, Lane Keep Assist (and not as intrusive as some other brands), Lead Vehicle Start Alert, and Pre-Collision avoidance systems.At The End Of The Drive.

The Forester range is popular yet, oddly, almost invisible in one respect. It’s the not the sort of vehicle one hears about from mates and family as the vehicle of choice yet when out on the road they’re apparent and in good numbers. There’s a simple and good reason for that: they’re a bloody good car. It’s verging, though, on needing an update, but for the time being is still a willing and able performer.

Car courtesy of Subaru Australia, X-Mode definition courtesy of David Bonnici at WhichCar.

2021 Kia Stonic Readies For Release.

Kia’s curiously named Stonic is being advertised on Australian TV for sale. The brand’s answer to the Kona, Stonic will have sharp pricing, a choice of three models (Stonic S, Sport, and Stonic GT-Line) with sub-2.0L engines, and a seven speed DCT for the GT-Line. The base model has a six speed manual or auto.Pricing starts from $22,990 for the Stonic S in manual guise, with a $1,000 premium for the auto. Sport starts at $24,990 and $25,990 for manual and auto, with GT-Line from $29,990. All prices are drive-away.

The engines are a 1.4L non-turbo four, or a 1.0L three cylinder. Power and torque figures are 74kW and 133Nm for the four, 74kW and 172Nm for the turbo three. It’s front wheel drive for the four cylinder, AWD for the turbo three potter.

The standard equipment for the S includes six airbags, car/pedestrian/cyclist detection AEB, Lane Following Assist, reversing camera with dynamic parking guidelines, rear parking sensors, driver attention alert, cruise control, idle stop and go (also in Sport), wireless Apple Carplay and Android Auto (S trim only), multi-connection Bluetooth, 8-inch Multimedia touchscreen, 6-speaker sound system, 4.2-inch TFT LCD driver’s cluster, 15-inch steel wheels and auto headlights.

Step up to the Sport and there is 17-inch alloy wheels, smart key with push button start, 8-inch multimedia touchscreen with navigation, 10-year Mapcare updates with SUNA Traffic, electric folding mirrors and premium steering wheel and shifter.GT-Line adds in 17 inch alloys, idle-stop-and-go, a bespoke body package, MFR LED headlights, two tone colour or a sunroof, cloth and artificial leather seats, climate control air conditioning, privacy glass, and an electrochromic mirror.

Exterior colour choices are broad. There will be seven available for the 1.4L version, with Clear White, Silky Silver, Perennial Grey, Aurora Black Pearl, Signal Red, Mighty Yellow, and Sport Blue. The GT-Line has a choice of four exclusive two-tone treatments. There is Clear white with an Aurora Black Pearl roof, Mighty Yellow and Aurora Black Pearl roof, Sporty Blue with Aura Black Pearl Roof, and Signal Red with Aurora Black Pearl Roof. Silky Silver is not available on GT-Line. Premium paints have a $520 impost.Based on the Rio’s platform, the Stonic has had the gearbox moved forward by 28mm, and their is an increase of caster angle from 4.1 degrees to 4.6 degrees, Shock absorbers have been specified as the high performance RS-valve types. the rear shocks have been given a more upright stance, with 8.4 degrees off vertical, whilst Rio has 25 degrees.

Interior features include dual channel Bluetooth for two phones to connect for music streaming. The S has wireless connection for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto via the 8.0 inch however it’s not available on the Sport and GT-Line trims. Satnav has a 10-year Mapcare and SUNA traffic services support included.

Safety is high, of course, with camera and radar AEB across the three, with car, pedestrian, and cyclist recognition across an activation spread ranging from 5km/h to 180km/h for vehicles and 5km/h to 85km/h for pedestrian and cyclists. DAA or Driver Attention Alert is standard, along with Lane Keep Assist and Lane Following Assist. Parking Distance Warning connects to the rear sensors to monitor and alert for objects around the vehicle when reversing whilst the Rear Occupant Alert is a class leading inclusion which monitors rear door opening and closing to assist the driver about rear seat passengers when exiting the vehicle.Packaging has the Stonic at a length of 4140mm, width of 1760mm, height with roof racks 1520mm, wheelbase of 2580mm and minimum ground clearance of 165mm in S trim and 183mm for Sport and GT-Line, a maximum of 1,155L for the cargo, whilst towing is up to 1,000kg braked with the manual.

Check with your Kia dealer for a test drive.

2021 Genesis GV80 3.0L: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: A new entrant, one of three in its family, to the “luxo” SUV marketplace. Genesis has had the G80 and G70 sedans for sometime, and in late mid-2020 released the GV80, with the GV70 unveiled in November.

The GV80 has three engine choices, a single transmission, and varying electronics & trim aligned with the engines. There is a 2.5L four with front or all wheel drive, a 3.0L straight six with diesel fuel and AWD, or a petrol fed 3.5L V6 also with an AWD system.

What Does It Cost?: The range starts at $90,600 plus on-roads, with the 3.0L starting from $103,600 (plus ORC) and tops out at $108,600 (plus ORC). Genesis have gone to a fixed price, non-negotiable system, and that may deter some. However, when buying a house, the price generally tends upwards, not downwards…

The Luxury Pack that was featured in our review vehicle is $10,000. It’s an extensive list of features that are included and really add extra value overall. For the driver there is a device that scans the face and provides a Forward Attention Warning service. A self parking and parking assistance package is part of it, with forward and reverse parallel and perpendicular parking assistance.

RANC or Road Active Noise Cancellation makes the cabin an incredibly quiet place to be. That can be enjoyed for the 18 way powered driver’s seat that includes Pelvic Stretching and bolsters that close in on the sides of the driver in Sports mode or heavy acceleration. It’s a seven seater and the third row seats are powered, moving at the touch of a button, including a recline feature.

The doors are soft close and the tail gate door is powered, as expected. The driver has a super clear high definition 112.3 inch display including a three dimensional effect look that has to be seen in the flesh to reveal. Multi-zone climate control with rear seat controls is standard in the Luxury package too. The centre row has heating in the outboard sections.

All seats have ultra-soft Nappa leather with “G-Matrix” diamond quilting sewn in.

Under The Bonnet Is: A return of history, in one context. German manufacturers have stayed with the tried and true straight six for a reason, and Genesis clearly thought that the addition of one to the range was worthwhile. And it is.

Being an oiler, it’s not about the peak power (204kW), but the peak torque and where that comes in for the engine’s rev range. In this case there are a hefty 588Nm of torque, available from an easy going 1,500rpm through to 3,000rpm, not far off the roll-off to the peak power’s 3,800rpm.Economy for the big GV80 (2,267kg before passengers and fuel) improved during our drive. It started close to 10.0L/100km and finished dead on 8.0L/100km on our 70/30 drive cycle. Genesis quotes a hefty 12.0L/100km on the urban, 7.0L/100km for the highway, with 8.8L/100km for the combined.

On The Outside It’s: Familiar yet different. There are hints of other brands, noticeably from Germany, however it’s also distinctively its own vehicle. It’s shorter than it appears, with the styling making it longer than 4,945mm. Height is imposing at 1,715mm, with overall width of 1,975mm seeming a big handling ask. But no.

The vehicle supplied came with the Luxury Pack which includes a largely gloss-free white paint. This beautifully highlights the chromed Genesis “Crest” shield grille, the double row LED headlights and tail lights, plus the chromed side strips and piano black inserts in the front and rear bumpers. The rear door is powered and accessed via, smartly, a small press-tab in the wiper motor housing.

Along each flank rests two creaselines, one from front to rear from the bonnet line, the other covering the front and rear wheel arches separated by the doors. There are two vents mirroring the front and rear lights at the rear of the front guards. The rear windowline is distinctive, with a triangle finish to the D-pillar.Wheels are 22 inch alloys with a multispoke design. Grip is courtesy of 265/40 Michelin tyres.

On The Inside It’s: A place to stretch the legs and shoulders in utter comfort. Beige leather in the test car with diamond padding, electrically adjustable for all three rows, and beige suede style material on the roof are absolutely sumptuous. There are two separate sunroofs to bring in light from above.

The rear and centre row seats have individual electric controls. These raise and lower on command, and include the headrest folding on the rear row. The centre row can be moved fore and aft, and can move to a position to allow ingress and egress for the rear seaters. They are a little on the slow side for our taste, however there is a safety factor to consider for that speed.Cargo space with the third row seats down is huge at 727L. This increases to 2,144L with the second row folded.

The driver has a classy looking two-spoke two-tone leather bound steering wheel, also with electric adjustment, along with a two position seat memory setting.

For the driver there is a dash that is fully digital plus it has an extra cool feature. Aligned with a sensor strip that monitors the driver’s eyeline, the display has a 3D effect. It’s quite an unusual sight, seeing a flat screen suddenly blur for a flicker of a moment before providing a true 3D depth. For those that have an issue with it, it can be switched off. The driver also has a HUD display. A user friendly feature here is either the left or right dial change to the outside view when the indicator stalk is employed. the screen has a high pixel count so it works perfectly with the quality of the lenses used.In the middle of the upper section of the black and beige trimmed dash is a wider than widescreen touchscreen. Touchscreen, in this case, is a bit loose, as it’s set too far back in the dash and blocks off the centre-dash speaker. By the way, as good as the Lexicon sound system is, not having A-pillar mounted tweeters drags down the soundstage, as high frequency signals are directional in nature, and the door mounted units fire straight into the legs of the driver and passenger.In the centre console is a crystal look rotary drive selector dial, and a larger silver ringed white opaque circle. The silver ring is the default interface for much of what the touchscreen would do, and embedded in the menu options is a tutorial on how to use the opaque circle for items such as entering in an address for navigation. It works, but not excessively well. At the bottom left is the tarmac or terrain drive selector. With a push it switches between tarmac or soft-roading (Mud, Snow, Sand), and a twist changes the desired drive mode, with a commensurate change of the look of the digital driver’s screen.To the left is a cupholder insert, with a hinged door that folds to the right. Easy for the passenger, not so for the driver. However, a nice touch is the woodgrain trim here, and the sliding door at the far end of the console that reveals a wireless charge pad. It’s inclined to around 50 degrees, and aligned horizontally too, making for easier placing and removal. The whole centre console is a floating design though, and largely unusable as the squabs come up to almost the lower section of the top of the console.In between this and the touchscreen is a haptic feedback screen to operate the climate control. Again, it’s good but just a little fiddly for the section for fan speed, requiring a little more precision than necessary to adjust the horizontally aligned stripe. It’s backlit and only visible when the ignition is on.

On The Road It’s: Quicker than the seat of the pants will suggest. The linear torque delivery and free revving 3.0L six will launch the big GV80 at a velocity that feels rapid but not indecently so until you eyeball the numbers. The superb noise isolation mutes a lot of the aural feedback the brain would normally use as a guideline here, so when the numbers are changing at a rate the brain says otherwise to, it comes as a bit of a shock, and a relief to know that it’s working better than expected. We mentioned how quiet the cabin is earlier. Acoustic glass reduces road noise so the driver can enjoy the experinece at a higher level.

Bearing in mind the mass of the GV80, it’s a superb handler with: Genesis Adaptive Control Suspension (GACS) – including; Road Preview-Electronic Control Suspension (Preview-ECS) & Dynamic
Stability Damping Control (DSDC), says the specification sheet. In normal driving this has the rear of the GV80 slightly wallowy, with that just little bit too much softness for our tastes in the rear. The front is more tied down. Move to Sport and the suspension tightens up but not to the point that it’s excessively hard. The car’s driveline can be customised, so the engine can be in Comfort mode for, let’s say highway country driving, but the suspension and steering in Sport, to suit the driver’s taste and road conditions.

Braking is en pointe, with 360mm by 30mm discs up front with twin caliper pads, single calipers at the rear. The pedal measurement for just how much pressure is required is amongst the most intuitive we’ve experienced, and we were able to judge to a pinpoint, stopping distances.

Steering and there are hints of understeer in certain driving circumstances, with one particular corner a great test, at suburban speeds, of who much steering is required versus how far the nose naturally drifts wide or stays on line. Here we found the GV80’s front end requiring only a whiff of extra turn to have the nose where we wanted it to be.

In day to day driving over the seeming too-short week, the GV80 delivered on its promise of a luxury SUV, with the ability to street brawl. It’s an easy park that belies the size, has a beautifully sorted drive and handling setup, and delighted from ignition on to off.

What About Safety?: Standard safety features are extensive, again, as you’d expect. Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance-Assist with Rear/Side vision, Blind-Spot View Monitor, Driver Attention Warning that also includes Leading Vehicle Departure Alert. This beeps gently at the driver to advise the car ahead has moved on from a stop sign or traffic light.

Forward Collision Avoidance Assistance which brings in Car/Pedestrian/Cyclist detection, Junction Turning/Junction Crossing function, plus Rear Cross Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist, Lane-Change Oncoming/Lane-Change Side function, Evasive Steering Assist function, High Beam Assist and Lane Following Assist. The front seats have pretensioning belts. Ten airbags are fitted with a front centre side airbag, thorax and pelvic airbags for the front passengers, and thorax bags for the second row.

What About Warranty And Service?: Industry standard here at five years and unlimited kilometres for the warranty and that includes 24/7 roadside assistance and courtesy vehicle when being serviced. Servicing is performed at a dedicated centre however Genesis will arrange, at a distance of up to 70 kilometres from the main centre, to pick up and return to your place of work or at home. Genesis connected services are coming and information is available online.

At The End Of The Drive. Genesis have delivered a smack in the face to the established brands that provide luxury SUVs. The addition of the somewhat quirky looking GV70 bolsters their offerings in comparison to BMW or Audi or Mercedes with their more extensive range. As a package, the GV80 is what a cricket team needs in a test: a solid and dogged opener, with the ability to lay a foundation that the rest of the team can build upon.

With our week behind the wheel we feel that the GV80, in the specification tested, is a classic opening stand. There is a lot to like and it’s almost perfect straight out of the box. Almost. But the “negatives” such as they are, do very little to dull the shine of what the GV80 offers. And that’s a competitive, price appealing, high driver enjoyment level, raise of the middle finger to other brands and those that sneer at Korean offerings.

 

2021 Isuzu D-Max X-Terrain: Private Fleet Car Review.

This Car Review Is About: Isuzu’s substantially overhauled D-Max, specifically the 4×4 capable and top of the range X-Terrain. It heads a solid list of 4×2, 4×4, cab chassis, extended cab, and four door utes, all with the same 3.0L diesel and six cogger manual or autos. Info on the range and engine updates can be found here.How Much Does It Cost?: At the time of writing, Isuzu have a drive-away price tag of $58,990. Then there is the extensive list, over fifty, of options available.

Under The Bonnet Is: A revamped 3.0L diesel and six speed auto, driving a switchable two or four wheel drive system, with low range and a locking rear differential. Peak power is 140kW, but it’s the peak torque of 450Nm from 1,600rpm to 2,600rpm that does the important stuff.

Economy was good with our final figure of 9.7L/100km on our 70/30 urban to highway split close to the quoted figures from Isuzu, as the pure urban figure is 9.8L/100km, and highway 6.9L/100km. Isuzu’s combined figure is 8.0L/100km from a 76.0L tank. Towing capacity, by the way, is 3.5 tonnes. Dry weight is 2,30kg with a payload of 970kg.On The Inside It’s: A considerable step up from the previous model. There’s a more luxurious feel, a better look, yet some noticeable omissions.

Our time with the X-Terrain coincided with Sydney’s notoriously fickle late spring weather. Temperatures varied by twenty degrees Celsius, so the absence of heating and venting for the leather appointed seats was striking. However, they’ve been redesigned so there’s more sense of sitting in, not on, and the support level laterally goes up as a result. However, only the driver’s seat is powered for adjustability.

There is also no smartphone charge pad, only the driver’s windows switch is one touch, and the DAB tuner’s sensitivity isn’t the best going, with dropouts in areas no other vehicle we’ve tested and packing a DAB tuner having similar issues. Touchscreen size is 9.0 inches and Isuzu say it’s a pixel heavy count, at 144 pixels per square inch. The touchscreen interface for the audio needs polishing, as does the home screen look. It’s somewhat irksome that Isuzu has gone to a lot of trouble to “rebuild” the D-Max yet some basics have been overlooked. This is a top of the range vehicle, but yet…On the upside is the app connectivity and dash display design. It’s unlike virtually everyone else in look, yet it’s easy to read, and easy to use thanks to the steering wheel tabs that scroll information on a full colour LCD screen. The analogue dials are also clearly read, as are the no-nonsense tabs in a strip below the touchscreen. An added pair of pluses are the rain sensing wipers and auto headlights.

The dash itself has angles built into the soft-touch plastics that evoke the angles of the exterior of the D-Max. This includes the creaseline from the left air vent down and across the double glovebox design, with an upper and lower split. There’s a lidded storage locker on the upper dash that has been improved, in the sense the locker mechanism works all the time, every time. The very handy cup holders that pop out from under the left and right air vents remain.Drive is selected via a basic looking pistol grip lever, surrounded by piano black that echoes the material surrounding the touchscreen. The steering column is rake and reach adjustable. Leg room for the front seats is 1,075mm, with the rear seats in the four door ute at 905mm. 1,460mm shoulder room is what is found up front, meaning comfort levels in this aspect are high. Having rear seat air vents and a USB socket, plus a coat or shopping bag hook on the back of the front passenger seat raises the ante too.On The Outside It’s: Clad in a brilliant Cobalt Blue (on the test car), and there are three bespoke colours (two shared with the LS-U) including Volcanic Amber specifically for the X-Terrain. The most noticeable change from the previous model has been the enlargement of the grille which now extends further downwards, and the horizontals which have been flipped 180 degrees. The end plates now look more like teeth, adding an aggressive look.

Headlight design sees a slimming down of the design, and it brings a more assertive look, somehow evoking an eagle or a hawk. The rear lights also have been reprofiled, with a sharper overall look. The aggressive styling continues with strakes in the housing for the driving lights. On the test car was a lockable and rolling tray cover with the rear bumper, fitted with a towbar, having three steps to access the tray.

A stylish rollbar flows back from the roofline, and in a graphite grey plastic (with red highlights) it matches the roofrails and a pair of lower rear quarter aero-foils. Sidesteps and and wheel arch flares finish the package.Rolling stock sees black painted alloys wrapped in Bridgestone Dueller H/T rubber. They’re a good size at 265/60/18. The X-Terrain itself is a good size, measuring a full 5,365mm in total length, 1,785mm in height, and a broad 1,870mm on a 1,570mm track. Wheelbase is up too, from 3,095mm to 3,125mm. Wading depth is now up to 800mm thanks to a redesigned engine bay air intake.

On The Road It’s: A little underwhelming in one respect. There’s noticeable understeer in 2WD, the Duellers lose just enough grip to squeal as they push wide too. The auto suits the engine’s characteristics much better than the six speed manual we tested in the SX recently.

Being a diesel, it does mean that the torque delivery at low revs means it’s an unstressed, easy going, highway spinner. That breathlessness comes in more for suburban driving, especially when pulling away from a set of traffic lights and trying to clear traffic. It’s not the zippiest of engine and gearbox combinations, nor is it the quietest, feeling a little lacklustre in comparison to, say, a Kia Sorento 2.2L and eight speed, which has a similar overall weight. Move away from a suburban stop sign and it pulls cleanly and effortlessly away for the speed zone as the throttle sensor keeps revs lower than accelerating from the aforementioned lights..

The auto is smooth, with up and downshifts mostly invisible. Downhill runs had the transmission holding gear, and again mostly worked well enough, changing up when a human also would have made the change.

Ride quality, considering it’s a commercial oriented vehicle, isn’t horrible. It’s well tied down for the most part, with nicely controlled rebound from the rear leaf sprung suspension, and a well balanced, tauter, double wishbone front end, in comparison. Steering weight is well matched to the ride too, with enough effort required to move the new electronically assisted steering to not feel over-light and thus lose steering feel.

Being four wheel drive capable, there are some big numbers for the angles. Get off road and an approach angle of 30.5 degrees, a departure of 24.2 degrees, and a breakover of 23.8 degrees make for some exceptionally capable dirt eating.Something that stood out, and not entirely in a positive way, was the determination of what the Forward Collision Warning system felt to be a dangerous situation. There’s some recalibration to be done ans it would alert the driver to an object ahead however the brake was already being employed. At other times it would read an object that was turning left or right and therefore no longer a potential issue.

What About Safety?: There are now eight airbags throughout the cabin. In between the front pews is a centre mounted airbag, a segment first. A reverse camera is standard, along with parking sensors at either end. AEB is programmed for speeds above 10kph and has pedestrian & cyclist detection. Lane Keep Assist is standard and works best for speeds between 60 to 130. Forward-collision warning, lane-keeping assistance, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also fitted.

What About Warranty And Service?: Isuzu’s warranty offers six years or 150,000km, plus they’ll lob in seven years of roadside assistance provided services are done at the dealerships. Service intervals on the new D-Max remain 15,000km or 12 months, covered initially by a seven-year capped-price servicing program. This totals $3374 over that period, with the most expensive service (at 90,000km) costing $749.

At The End Of The Drive. It’s a much improved machine that Isuzu has given the marketplace, and the results are already flowing, with sales of the 4×4 version over 1,500 in November 2020. It takes on the HiLux and Ranger, and outsold the Triton too.

It’s a better looker, the interior has a more upmarket feel, but it still needs some more polishing in a couple of areas for features seen in other marques but not here, such as heating/venting for the seats, or perhaps offering electrical adjustment for the front passenger seat, not just the driver’s. As an overall package, it’s a better option that before, and the coming months will tell the tale sales wise. It looks the part, and pricewise it is poised to take aim at the two above it quite nicely.